Paul Kelly likes to graze for songs on Spotify as much as any fan. But as he released new music for the first time in five years, he decided to take a stand for the album.
The veteran Australian singer made a song cycle, “Spring and Fall,” that traces a love affair from the beginning to beyond its end. He’ll perform it during a six-week American tour that begins Saturday in Santa Barbara, Calif.
The ability of consumers to effectively compile their own albums pushed him to do something special. “I’m all in favor of being able to fillet people’s records in that way,” he said in a recent interview.
“Paradoxically, it means if you’re going to make albums, you have to have a reason for putting 11 songs together. You want to be all killer, no filler. You want to be able to make an island in the big sea of music.”
Kelly had written a song called “Someone New,” about the first stirrings of boredom in a long-term relationship. He built the story around that – back to a giddy first New Year’s celebration and forward to old lovers reconnecting as friends several years after the affair ended.
He’ll perform the album in its entirety – which was released in October – but urges concert fans not to be scared. It’s 11 quick songs, less than 40 minutes total. He tried to avoid the bloat that accompanied the transition from records to CDs.
“I’ve sort of come full circle back,” he said. “There must have been something right about doing two, 20-minute sides.”
Kelly’s nephew, guitarist Dan Kelly, will join him on the tour. Kelly is just off an Australian tour sharing a band and swapping songs with Crowded House’s Neil Finn, which ended with a sold-out Sydney Opera House show live-streamed online.